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Temple recommends (MLS)

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MLS membership

Temple recommends are issued by wards and stakes. MLS contains features for reporting on temple recommend holders, and also for activating recommends in areas with bar-coded recommends.

Temple recommend activation

Beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2007 and 2008, selected temples began using bar-coded temple recommends. Stakes in these temple districts have the responsibility to activate temple recommends. For such stakes, a bar-code scanner is shipped to the stake to facilitate the activation of recommends.


The person activating recommends receives canary copies of signed temple recommends from the stake presidency.

  1. From the MLS Membership Records panel, click Activate Recommends.
  2. In the of list of members, type the member name (last name first) or use the scroll bar.
  3. Select the member's name and click Activate. A window appears asking you to enter information from the recommend. Use information from the canary copy of the recommend.
  4. Type the last four digits of the member's record number.
  5. Scan the bar code on the recommend to place the recommend number in this field, or type the recommend number.
  6. Use the arrows to choose the month and year the recommend was issued by the ward or branch.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Check the information that appears in the window to make sure it is the same as that on the recommend.
    • If it is the same, click Activate at the bottom of the screen
    • If it is not the same, click Back to make corrections.

Sometimes the member record numbers are incorrect on the recommend (either swapping a husband's number with his wife's, or simple transposition or other transcription errors). It can be helpful to have a list of members with their record numbers, sorted by record number, to help track down such errors. Such a report is easily generated with a custom report.

Once the recommends have been activated, you must transmit these activations. On the main MLS menu, click Send/Receive Changes. Do not delay this action. If you do not transmit the changes to the administrative office, the recommend information will not be sent to the temple. A member could then be delayed at the temple while a member of the temple presidency or temple recorder calls the member's priesthood leader to make sure the recommend is valid.


Printed instructions for using the scanner to activate recommends are provided with the scanner. They are also available in MLS under the Help menu. These instructions document how to set up the scanner, how to activate recommends in MLS, and how to use the Temple Entry System.

Cancel, reactivate, or report lost or stolen recommends

MLS also allows you to cancel recommends, deactivate recommends because they have been lost or stolen, or to reactivate previously deactivated recommends.

Recommend synchronization timeline

Typically, recommend activations/cancelations are synchronized to the temples within 8 hours of transmitting them from the stake. If members plan on using it the same or the following day, they should be advised to allow extra time for checking in while the temple calls the member's priesthood leader to verify the recommend.

New recommend books

Temple Recommend Books.png

When new recommend books are sent to units, they must be recorded as received in MLS. Navigate to the Recommend Books screen under the menu item Membership > Temple Recommends.

Temple recommends from other units

If a member moves into a new stake and has a temple recommend activated by the previous stake, the recommend is still valid. Temple recommend activation information is transferred with the temple recommend, so the new stake can look at the activation information and discover the issue date and the stake that activated the recommend.

If, however, the member comes to the stake with a recommend that was issued by the previous stake, but was not authorized, then when the new stake attempts to authorize the recommend, MLS displays a message: "The recommend number is not in the range of numbers assigned to the stake." This can happen when (1) a member moves into the stake with a new recommend that was not activated by his or her former stake or (2) a member of the bishopric borrows a blank recommend from a ward or branch in another stake. In either case, a new recommend should be issued in your stake.

Temple recommends for returning missionaries

A letter from the First Presidency dated 13 August 2007 set a new policy for recommends for young full-time missionaries as they are released from their mission service. Mission presidents are instructed to conduct worthiness interviews with missionaries as they approach the end of their missions, and issue recommends that are valid for only 90 days. Then local priesthood leaders interview the returned missionary near the end of the 90-day expiration period and then (depending on worthiness) issue a normal two-year recommend.

MLS permissions

At the stake level, the stake president grants rights to activate temple recommends only to those members he chooses. Usually these are members of the stake presidency, the stake clerk, and the stake executive secretary. An assistant stake clerk could be authorized if needed. To grant these rights, do the following:

  1. Log in to MLS as an administrator.
  2. Select System Options.
  3. Click on the user name of a member authorized by the stake president to edit or view recommend information.
  4. Click either Edit Recommends or View Recommends. A member with editing rights also receives viewing rights automatically.
  5. Click Save.
  6. If necessary, repeat steps 3 through 5 for other users to be granted temple recommend rights. The administrator doing this should also grant editing rights to himself.
  7. Log out of MLS and log in again.
  8. On the Membership Records menu, click More. The Temple Recommends menu should now have the following options:
    • Activate Recommends
    • Activation Report
    • View/Edit Recommends
    • Endowed without Recommend
    • Adult Members Not Endowed

At the ward level, the process is almost the same, except the only right that can be given at the ward level is View Recommends. On the ward Temple Recommends menu there should be the following options:

  • Activation Report
  • View Recommends
  • Endowed without Recommend
  • Recommend Books
  • Adult Members Not Endowed

Note: Unlike all other permissions, the temple recommend permissions are not automatically granted to users with administrative privileges. As with all other users, administrators must be granted explicit rights to view or edit temple recommends before those portions of MLS dealing with temple recommends are accessible.

Temple Entry System (TES)

In conjunction with the bar-coded recommends, there is now a Temple Entry System web site. Stake presidency members can log in to this web site (using their LDS Account) to activate and cancel temple recommends, or mark temple recommends as lost or stolen. Because stake presidency members are identified in CDOL, TES can validate that they are authorized to use this system.

In addition to the stake presidency, the stake clerk is authorized to activate temple recommends. If a stake president wants the executive secretary to have access to the TES, the stake clerk can request the "Stake/District Clerk or Executive Secretary Information for Directory" form from the Directory of Leaders department at CHQ. They will send the form as an attached PDF via secure stake president email. Complete and submit the form. Alternatively, the executive secretary can be added to the CDOL using an ICR created from the CDOL site, or using the MLS Leader and Unit Change Request. CHQ will add the executive secretary to CDOL, allowing him to authenticate and access the temple recommend site. Assistant stake clerks are not authorized to activate temple recommends using TES.